Academic patenting and the professor's privilege: Evidence on Denmark from the KEINS database

  • Lissoni F
  • Lotz P
  • Schovsbo J
 et al. 
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Since 1955, the professor's privilege had allowed Danish professors to retain intellectual property rights (IPRs) over the results of their research. This changed in 2000, when Denmark, the first of several countries to do so, abolished the professor's privilege and granted IPRs over research results to universities. In this paper we show that in the first years following the abolition, a considerable amount of patenting activity has moved out of professors' hands into those of their universities. We also show that the bulk of academic patenting consists of inventions owned by business companies, and this holds true both before and after the abolition of the privilege. In this respect, the Danish case confirms the European pattern as described in the recent literature and provides useful suggestions on the likely effects of re-distribution of IPRs between universities and their faculties.

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